The number of Americans who think our two party system is seriously broken has edged up slightly to 34 percent, a new high in the Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll. From the Poll:
With the right-track wrong-track numbers the highest they’ve been since 2008, extreme gridlock the new norm in Washington, and disapproval of Congress at 82 percent we are seeing an increase in the number of Americans losing faith in our two-party system.
The reason why our country, unlikely most other democracies, only has two main political parties isn’t because Americans lack the need, desire or demand for more choices. The reason there are only two viable parties is because the Democrats and Republicans created election laws that inherently restrict the number of political parties capable of fielding a candidate.
It doesn’t to be this way. The design of the election laws effectively determines the number of viable parties. There is no logical or constitutional reason that we can’t, in theory, adopt election systems such as proportional representation or instant runoff voting that would make it possible for more political parties to run without acting as “spoilers.”
If you are serious about the two-party system being totally broken, the solution isn’t just to have some billionaire run one time as an independent for the presidency. The solution is systematic reform of our election laws.
Maybe, if the number of Americans who believe the two party system is broken continues to grow, we will start having a real conversation about why the electorate is forced to choose between only two relatively unpopular parties.